Wednesday, January 31, 2007


My mother died young; her death was unexpected, unnecessary. We were distraught. The day after her death, nearly forty years ago, my cousin Gloria arrived at my father’s door with a fish chowder. It was beyond delicious; it was comforting, sustaining, life-affirming. When we brought Bill home from the hospital last week, a friend had a chicken soup waiting for us. It too was beyond delicious.

I have lost my appetite only once in my life, when I was in the hospital, very ill with pneumonia. I hadn’t appreciated what people meant when they told me they had lost their appetite. I thought it meant that they were full or that they didn’t particularly like what was put before them. When I lost any interest in eating, I was scared. I thought I might die, leaving Bill with three young ones to raise on his own. I have heard of people who at the end of their lives don’t eat or drink. That must mean that their will to live is gone.

Years ago a friend of mine gave me a Chinese recipe for chicken broth that was alleged to be particularly life-giving. It requires a fowl, not an easy thing to come by here, and fresh herbs, now easy to find but at that time impossible to buy in the winter. I must get out the recipe, find a fowl and make the broth.

Bill is on the mend for the time being although there are hurdles down the line. I have been blessed with the gift of living one day at a time. I hardly ever look more than a few months away, don’t “borrow trouble.” I weighed him this morning, and he has gained twelve pounds in one week. A lot of the weight must come from his drinking Boost three times a day.


Zhoen said...

Harder to watch those we love endure illness, than it is to suffer ourselves.

I do hotdog soup when I am ill.

Mr Murray said...

Nice to learn he's on the mend.

S. Kearney said...


I'm so pleased to read your update, and to hear that Bill is on the mend.

Go easy. Comfort yourselves. The chicken soup sounds perfect.

This was a very moving post. :)

litlove said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Bill, but relieved too, that I hear about it now he's back home. I had pneumonia as well and can remember all too clearly the sheer awfulness of just not being able to eat. It felt like a small death. But chicken soup is immensely comforting, and if someone had made that for me, back then, I might well have been tempted into eating something.

Zhoen said...

Wish I could send you some chowder today. I'm guessing the silence is not a good indication. My thoughts are with you.

Nancy Ruth said...

Dear fellow bloggers, Thank you for your kind thoughts.